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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 22320
Experience:  37 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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My daughter's married flatmates represented that they wished

Customer Question

My daughter's married flatmates represented that they wished to leave the rented flat at the end of the current lease in January 2016. They stated that they would like to find somewhere to live together, without flatmates.
However, my daughter indicated that she would like to continue living there and asked them to contact the landlord to that effect, and she would seek other flatmates on renewal of the lease. She did this because the couple were the sole point of contact with the landlord, whom my daughter had never met.
My daughter heard nothing back and when she pressed the couple two days later, they told her they had changed their minds and would stay. Given the swiftness of the turnaround, and doubt as to whether the landlord was contacted at all, it appears that they were attempting to deceive my daughter into leaving the flat so they could continue to live there without her, or with someone else.
This has resulted in significant distress for my daughter, who suffers from chronic acute anxiety. It also follows a pattern of passive aggressive bullying and low aggression from the couple, particularly the female, over the past few months. My daughter now feels so intimidated that she wants to move out, despite liking the flat.
This looks to me like an attempted fraud and I would like some advice as to actions she could take, or I could instigate on her behalf as her father or agent.
Many thanks
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: New Zealand Law
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

Flatmates do not have the protection of tenants under the Residential Tenancies Act. So the relationship with her flatmates is an issue of contract, and so if she wants to leave the flat she would just need to give notice. The way they have dealt with this is unfortunate, but is unlikely to be able to prosecuted as fraud. It seems to be the state of passive aggression and a failure of communication which is not really fraud. Sometimes some low key mediation can bring out the real issues, without a full battle. If she is unwelcome there, she may be best to leave and not stress about the flatmates and their games. But mediation may be one way of resolving this without getting into a confrontation.

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